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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ports.

Topics

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand what my colleague is speaking about.

We have a positive initiative undertaken by our government to better serve official language communities. This is going to be led by Bernard Lord, an eminently qualified individual. Canadians are happy to have him on board. I think the opposition should support this positive measure.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Official Languages already met with communities across the country. A 200-page report was written. The work is done. The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada also did an enormous amount of consultation and will fight to defend our rights in court. Even the Commissioner of Official Languages has to align himself with that federation in order to be heard.

The government is not serious. Instead of creating a delaying mechanism to reward a good Conservative, why will the Prime Minister not implement the recommendations already made?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the work is not done. On official languages, every time we want to call in witnesses from the official language communities to discuss their priorities and their concerns, that member shoots it down because he is stuck on the court challenges program. He cannot move off the court challenges program. We are trying to move ahead for our official language communities.

InfrastructureOral Questions

December 3rd, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the previous Liberal government renewed $11.5 billion in infrastructure money in its 2005 budget. The government only included $4 billion of that in its 2007 budget. This cut and the government's building Canada fund is an elaborate shell game that should be called re-gifting Canada.

While the finance minister may think that mayors are stupid and whiners, they are not. When will the government come clean and admit that it has abandoned Canada's cities and communities?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, over the weekend my friend reflected on what he asked as a question on Friday. Unfortunately he did not go all the way.

Once again he is ignoring the work that this government did with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to set up the building Canada fund. The FCM asked for flexible long term financing. That is exactly what we did.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, in the 2005 Liberal budget, we announced $11.5 billion for infrastructure. Yet the government's 2007 budget only included $4 billion. That is a $7.5 billion cut.

City councillors were protesting outside Parliament today. All of Canada's mayors want to know one thing: When can they get their money back from the government?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I will not engage in a difference in terms of numbers. We all know that it is $33 billion that we put forward.

Contrary to the Leader of the Opposition who over the weekend compared himself to General Kutuzov, the Russian who burned Moscow, we are building towns in this country.

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, apparently the minister responsible for regional economic development is not very fond of his limousine. Perhaps it is not comfortable or stylish enough.

Documents obtained through access to information suggest that he much prefers private jets. No line-ups, and plenty of leg room.

Can he tell us why his official limousine is not good enough to get him back to his riding and why Canadians have to pay for his non-stop flights complete with appetizers?

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the minister's actions are in line with the department's policy for small aircraft rental. The minister's job is to visit the regions. That is something the Liberals never did. What bothers my colleague is that the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec is an elected member from a region and that his plane takes off from Bagotville, not Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport.

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I always had a hard time figuring out what the minister and Paris Hilton have in common. Now I know: they each have their own private jet.

I can understand that, from time to time, the minister might have to fly to make announcements in far-flung regions. My colleagues can calm down now. But it is a little harder to understand why he would use a private plane to go back and forth between Ottawa and his place.

How many times did he fly out to make announcements, and how many of those times did he land in Bagotville, which is right next door to his house?

Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of QuebecOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the flight logs say Bagotville because the minister got on the plane at Bagotville in order to go to the regions as an EDC representative. In April 2007 alone, the minister went to central Quebec, northern Quebec, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the Lower St. Lawrence, the Eastern Townships, Montérégie, and Laval—Laurentides—Lanaudière. Clearly, this is troubling him deeply.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister just announced that he will continue the employment insurance benefits pilot project, but we know very well that this is a temporary measure.

To avoid this insecurity among workers every year, could the minister announce today that this measure will finally become permanent?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member is excited about the announcement that we made. It is very good news.

I have to point out to my friend the point of a pilot project. It is put in place so data can be gathered to make a determination about the future of that type of programming. That is the whole point. I invite my friend to stay tuned and we will gather data over the next 18 months and make a determination based on the facts.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only constant with this government is its support of oil companies. There is nothing for older workers who lose their jobs.

Does the government know that when older workers lose their job and have no secondary education, training or experience in another field, it is nearly impossible for them to find another job or retrain? What is being done for these people? When will the minister create a real program to help them?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I think the real question is, when is the member going to have some faith in the people of Quebec? The fact is, last month it was older workers who were the most successful job seekers in the Canadian job market.

Older workers have tremendous potential. We are arming them with skills so that if they choose, they can retrain and continue to contribute. That is their choice and we support them in it.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has abandoned Canada's largest province.

The finance minister has told the mayors to “stop whining”. While they try in vain to get a fair deal from the federal government, the government House leader calls the Premier of Ontario the small man of Confederation, even as Manitoba and Quebec echo Ontario's call for fairness.

Why is it that when it comes to Ontario and Canadian municipalities, the government offers nothing but insults?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, members will recall that when we took power in 2006, we came forward with a budget, and my colleague, the Minister of Finance, proposed an unprecedented amount of dollars for infrastructure. We consulted the province and we consulted the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.

The Canadian Federation of Municipalities asked us to design a new program, not the old program that did not work but a new program, and we delivered a new program for Canadian municipalities.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, our government is showing strong international leadership when it comes to development in Afghanistan and around the world. Through our work, we are making a difference in the lives of women and children in Afghanistan, but aid and development are only part of the equation. Mines and unexploded ordnances kill or injure on average 62 Afghans each month and almost 50% of the victims are children.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation tell this House what our government is doing to help combat this situation?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada supports demining efforts in 20 countries around the world and we are making progress in Afghanistan. In fact, the lands contaminated by land mines have been reduced by 20% and the number of communities affected reduced by one-third.

Today I was pleased to announce $80 million over four years to the UN Mine Action Service. We will work with Afghanistan to ensure that it becomes a mine free country by the year 2030.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last spring, the city of Toronto mounted its one cent campaign to get the equivalent of one penny of the GST committed to cities and infrastructure. Last month, the city of Mississauga had to introduce a special levy to cover its overwhelming infrastructure costs.

Today, the city of Ottawa and other municipalities marched here to the doors of Parliament to demand that the government stand up for cities.

This just cannot be ignored any longer. When will the minister start paying attention and begin to help municipalities and stop telling us any more about his half measures?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am happy my hon. colleague raised the question of the city of Ottawa because we have committed $200 million to the city's light rail train. My colleague, the Minister of the Environment, announced a project of over $50 million to a convention centre. We have also committed $40 million to refurbishing route 174.

I think that over the course of the last couple of months we have done darn good for the cities and the communities across this country, particularly Ottawa.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would bring to the attention of the minister that those councillors did not march here for the exercise.

After a decade of Liberal neglect, property taxes are going up, the cost to repair or replace aging infrastructure is going up and the federal government's share is going down. The Conservative commitment is less than 10% of the $120 billion infrastructure deficit, while 60% of our infrastructure is more than 40 years old and desperately needs replacing.

How much of a property increase is the minister willing to see in his riding?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, having worked for many years as a town councillor, I am quite aware of the plight of municipalities. One of the reasons I joined this party is that this party takes municipalities seriously. This party gets the job done.

Those folks on the other side of the House, for a number of years, were bickering. I can remember David Collenette saying that he did not want any gas tax increase.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the premier of Ontario opposed the government's plan for democratic reform, he was called the "small man of Confederation". The premier of Quebec now also opposes the government's democratic reform bill.

Does the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons believe that Jean Charest is also a “small man of Confederation” and how does the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons decide which premier deserves to be insulted?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers know that our government keeps its promises, unlike other parties such as the Liberal Party or the Bloc Québécois. We promised to resolve the fiscal imbalance and we did it. Now we are resolving the imbalance in representation.

I might add that I do not know where the Liberal Party is coming from. I understand that it likes the position of Dalton McGuinty. The position of Dalton McGuinty is to render the current representation to guarantees to Quebec meaningless. Is that its position? It should come clean and tell Canadians if that is its position.